We have identified by differential screening a novel Arabidopsis thaliana gene, called kin1, which is induced at +4 degrees C. The nucleotide sequences of both the genomic clone and the corresponding cDNA were determined. The deduced 6.5 kDa polypeptide has an unusual amino acid composition being rich in alanine, glycine and lysine. The gene belongs to a family of at least two genes. Northern blot analysis revealed that the level of kin1 mRNA is increased 20-fold in cold-treated plants. In addition to being expressed in cold, kin1 is also induced by water stress and the plant hormone abscisic acid (ABA) which has been suggested to be a common mediator for osmotic stress responses and cold acclimation in plants. Sequence comparisons showed that the kin1 gene product has similarities to fish antifreeze proteins (AFPs).